Rumor: United Airlines To Open Hub In Florida

United Airlines has some of the best cities for premium passenger traffic as hubs: New York (Newark); Chicago; San Francisco; sort of Los Angeles; Houston; Washington Dulles; Denver. They’re strong in the biggest cities with the most business travel, however:

  • Managed business travel, especially international and from San Francisco and New York, has lagged other categories post-Covid

  • They’re largely in contested markets, even where they have a dominant position. They are stronger in Chicago than American, but American has a hub there as well. They face off with Delta for New York business. No one owns Los Angeles.

What United doesn’t have is the strong presence in the Southeast that Delta has (Atlanta) and American has (Charlotte and Miami). And aviation watchdog JonNYC passes along chatter from United’s internal leadership conference that the airline is planning a Florida hub.

United Airlines has over 700 new aircraft on order, even excluding 45 Airbus A350s that until recent Boeing production issues were expected never to materialize. If demand develops to support that sort of growth (though many aircraft on order will allow the airline to replace existing planes) they are going to need more places to send them. And one gap is certainly the Southeastern United States.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I think establishing a Florida hub is more about increasing UA flights to the region, which I think might go well for the carrier. I live in FL, and I was looking at which carrier I want to be loyal to. AA has a decent loyalty program but UA and DL are both better to fly with. DL offers a great pax experience but a noncompetitive loyalty program. UA offers a decent onboard experience with the new cabins, and a goof loyalty program. But my travel is mostly on the East Coast or to Dallas. To fly with UA, I’d have to connect through EWR, ORD, or IAH for most of my trips. Meanwhile, AA can take me wherever through MIA and CLT, and DL has ATL (and a good amount of flights from MCO and TPA). If UA had a bigger presence in FL, I would likely switch my loyalty to them.

    I think MCO is a good airport to expand at. Airfare from there is extremely cheap so it might not be the most profitable, but if UA only wants to offer connections, then it might work. And MCO has a new Terminal with an expansion in progress. That should free up some space in the old concourses.

    TPA would be a great choice. But I don’t know if they have the current capacity to handle such a growth. I think UA would need it’s own Terminal, which the airport definetly has the space for. And if Brightline expands to Tampa, UA can launch a partnership with them for passengers wishing to go to Orlando!

  2. United should build out their SE hub at TNT. Lots of space there lol! It’s the airport that never was.

  3. UA should consider FLL. A large airport with year-round traffic with little service by legacy airlines. FLL is dominated by Jet Blue and Spirit, both of which don’t have the offerings that UA could bring.

  4. UA is a business driven airline and it would be logical for them to open a new hub in Miami .. TPA, MCO & FLL are low-yielding metros and don’t fit into its business model.

  5. United has minimal presence in MIA and it’s a fortress hub for AA. United is much more established in FLL with many daily, 2x, 3x…7x flights to their hubs. Plus a United Club. FLL is building a 5th terminal for JetBlue so maybe there’s room for UA expansion there. No completely dominant legacy carrier in FLL, plus home to the 2nd busiest cruise port in the world.

  6. Tim did you already forget about that Mathhew Klint article about you? You’re infamous so you can’t expect your secrets to stay secret.

    1) UA has severe shortage of narrowbodies, hence the whole United Next project. None of their hubs are true fortresses so they need to beef up market share to gain pricing power and loyalty. When you start adding capacity from/at Hub A to cities like BCD, you increase market share at cities BCD. This is how UA will grow.

    AA/DL/WN can try putting prestige and market share over profits if they want to, but UA has more planes on order so good luck fighting them.

    2) You see how ridiculous this argument is now? Stop bragging about DL being a No2 at other airlines fortress hubs.

    3) When DL tries to be a No1 from a No4 position it’s genius, when UA does it (albeit in Florida) it’s an incredibly bad plan that won’t work! We can see your bias Tim.

    Ah yes now moving the goalposts by looking at the past NYC great idea.

    3a) JFK was an unprofitable focus city, it makes sense to pull out when you don’t have much of a presence or a have a strategic need to be here. This was not a mistake

    3b) We all know this.

    3c) Newark Liberty desperately needs slot controls. NYC airspace is heavily congested and the airport is very delay prone. The FAA made a huge mistake here and should rectify it immediately.

    Oh yeah and UA weren’t underutilised it’s slots just because, it was doing so because they need slack in the schedule and even back then EWR was delay and cancellation prone, albeit nowhere as bad as it is today.

    3d) Scott Kirby (who is the CEO and not the Network Planner) did not overschedule EWR. UA had already cut back capacity by 10-15% at the request of the FAA, yet the FAA screwed up (source for the FAA is CF) leading to the meltdown. If UA cuts back here further, you’ll just see other airlines move in making no difference to the congestion.

    3e) AA also has a presence in all three airports. Only reason they aren’t bigger is bc the DoJ screwed them with the merger divestments and slapping on JFK slot controls overnight when LAA/AMR temporarily cut back during T8 construction.

    Oh *now* you recognise that UA needs to increase domestic capacity and market share. This is perhaps the biggest reason why UAL underperformed after the merger.

    UA did move some 777s to be put on domestic hub to hub routes bc they sorely needed the capacity, and they ordered the 77Ws bc fleet commonality and cheap prices.

    DL will not overtake UA internationally when their widebody fleet **far** lags UA. UA has SFO and EWR and IAD and IAH as international gateways meanwhile DL has um the maxxed out JFK and ATL ops. Where did you think those 787s are going?

    DL/postmergerKE can try overtaking UA/NH TPAC but they lack the crucial and large Japanese market, they lack a West Coast gateway, they lack an Australia/New Zealdn partner, they lack current market share. and they lack a historical presence.

    UA will naturally grow their Latin ops as IAH grows, but they didn’t attempt a poorly thought out MIA focus city that never even happened. TATL CDG is poor for connections, AMS has slot issues and a curfew, and CPH won’t amount of anything as Nordic traffic can just go through other hubs and there’s no proper East Coast gateway (DTW requires backtracking, ATL is too out of the way and TATL doesn’t work here, JFK is full).

  7. I don’t know who Matthew Klint is or care but from what has been copied and pasted he is just another UA deranged fanchild that refuses to deal with facts.
    1. UA needs hundreds more widebodies than any other airline because
    a. they relied on regional jets far more than any other airline for far too long and those RJs can’t be staffed and cost way more to operate. UA simply did not have the strategic foresight to see what was happening until the costs skyrocketed.
    b. UA has the oldest fleet among large global airlines and Kirby willingly and intentionally chose NOT to retire airplanes during the pandemic which has made UA’s fleet age even more of an issue.
    2. Kirby has decided to invest in a massive growth strategy in the domestic market which adds to the need for even more domestic aircraft and we can debate that part of UA’s fleet needs on its own merits:
    a. UA indeed underperformed because was the 4th largest of the big 4 in the domestic market and that has consequences: less value to a loyalty program, less ability to compete in the far larger domestic market, and a less attractive product – RJs are simply not as competitive as mainline aircraft. and regional aircraft are expensive on a per seat basis esp. on a per seat basis.
    again, Scott Kirby didn’t make some of these decisions but he inherited them and he thinks he will fix them in the space of a couple years.
    3. Delta has been one of the largest domestic airlines for years. AA and DL have been the two dominant US carriers by revenue in the domestic market for the past 15 years. WN moves volumes but doesn’t get much money for it – but it is very efficient so can make money. Delta didn’t just become the largest carrier in scores of cities and almost always the largest carrier in other airline hub markets overnight but that is exactly what UA Next envisions – and it is pure fantasy.
    4. If UA thought it could just not use EWR slots because the airport was overscheduled because of too many FAA slots, they made a tragic strategic mistake. There is no sugar coating the ineptitude or trying to justify UA’s decisions. EWR lost slot controls and they will simply never be regained. UA had the best position to control its most valuable market and blew it. They will simply not regain slot controls and the government should not lock in UA’s dominance. The FAA offers schedule coordination and UA can work with the FAA to make sure the airport and airspace can handle what UA and other airlines want to offer.

    DL got rid of its 777s, the most fuel inefficient widebody aircraft in the US airline fleet and has replaced that capacity with new generation A330NEOs and A350s – and has now ordered the A350-1000 which is the most capable, most efficient widebody and will match or exceed UA’s 777-300ERs in size. Add in that the A350-900 as it will be delivered to Delta in 2024 and beyond is more capable and more efficient than the 787 and also larger and UA will have a run for its money on its international network.

    DL’s international system IS more profitable than UA. All UA does is fly more airplanes farther and burn more gas but they can’t translate that into profits – which is what UA has to do to be able to compete with every other airline including DL.

    DL has and will have more flights from Haneda – where the money flies to/from Tokyo – than UA to the US. If Narita was so good, UA wouldn’t be asking TWICE to move NRT routes (GUM and IAH) to HND.
    ICN is simply a huge underdeveloped hub. Korean is already the largest transpacific carrier; DL will add capacity to get its share. DL will add nonstops beyond KE. SEA-TPE is just the beginning.

    The Latam JV is game-changing. UA is left out. DL didn’t ditch any poorly developed MIA focus city; covid happened and alot of things got put on the back burner but are far from dead. Children like you can’t understand that well-run companies don’t do things on a whim but when they act, they act decisively and win.
    Sadly, Scott Kirby runs UA the same way you think.

    let’s not forget that Delta entered deregulation as the 6th largest airline and is now the largest by revenue and profits.
    Delta plays for keeps and the long term.

    It was always a delusion to think that UA alone would grow in the international market if there was money to be made.
    It is even more delusional to think that other carriers will not vigorously defend their markets when UA decides it wants to expand into other markets – which defines most of Florida and other high-growth domestic markets.

    there will be no UA hubs – but the mere suggestion sends you and others into a tizzy when you have to face the reality of what UA is and not what you want to believe or Scott Kirby tries to project it is.

  8. Yawn. I’m far from a UA shill but sure call me that to discredit me (in case you haven’t noticed the irony).

    1a) There’s a big difference between a widebody and a regional. You won’t see UA put most of those shiny new 787s on domestic routes, they will going internationally.

    1b) Who cares about fleet age? UA has new planes being delivered every week and keeping older planes for those profitable TATL is a wise choice that AA should regret not taking.

    2a) We aren’t disagreeing here, that’s exactly my point.

    3) Again not entirely disagreeing here. Delta operates hubs in less than desired locations (no Chicago, Texas, or DC) so of course they have to be bigger than they are in these locations.

    4) Who cares?

    EWR is a still a fortress hub that they dominate in. It’s still difficult to access gates (let alone at optimal times) and be profitable at the airport, unless you’re United of course.
    As UA continues to upgauge at EWR, as they slowly funnel more connecting traffic through IAD, as they will slowly increase international traffic at ORD once the new terminal is operational they will continue to do great at EWR and will continue to make bank.
    With ATC staffing issues I can see the FAA slapping on slot controls. This whole schedule coordination does nothing to help with delays and cancellations.

    Considering how much money they put in the 772LRs, DL thought they would be kept around for a while. They panicked during Covid and retired those planes, planes that would have helped with the insane TATL demand. Retiring these planes were a mistake.

    You’re forgetting that the A350 is a 300 seater, while the 787 Dreamliner is a 200 seater. The 787 is naturally better suited for thing and long routes and DL will struggle to fill seats on the -900 for more niche routes, a problem UA doesn’t have. UA has stated numerous times that they intend to take on the A350s, it’s only a matter of time.

    The way you describe UA international is very inaccurate, after all their CASM is a whole two cents lower than DL and they are doing far more than DL to push it down further.

    You keep relying on that DoT data, yet you’re the same guy who argues that Enilria’s analysis of SEA isn’t accurate because it doesn’t take into account international flying. The irony.

    UA has the NH JV into TYO so it doesn’t really matter how much of their own metal goes into HND, they also have NH to fill in the gaps. DL has no real presence in Japan and they will continue to be hurt by that.

    Ignoring the fact that the KE/OZ merger won’t be approved by the DoJ, ICN has slot difficulties. There’s no potential to grow here, and DL tried to fight for JA and Skymark first and second so KE was more from their preferred option.

    Latam left AA in 2019 and the JV has amounted to nothing. DL hasn’t even bothered to declare MIA a focus city even though the market in the past has shown it can handle multiple carriers.

    And again Tim, it’s childish and hypocritical of you to resort to insults.

    WN didn’t even exist before deregulation in the USA, and guess what they are one of the biggest airlines almost entirely through organic growth. DL by comparison has grown by merger after merger.

    Ed Bastian himself said in a Jeb Brooks interview that the real growth is in international markets.

    Oh yeah and I never said I thought UA will open a new hub, that isn’t exactly the best idea. FLL would be the best choice by far but UA is better off beefing up IAH and IAD.

  9. Indeed, establishing a hub at Orlando International Airport (MCO) could address a common frustration among Southeast passengers: the inefficiency of flying north to a hub airport only to travel south again. Here’s why choosing Orlando MCO as a hub could be a strategic move for United Airlines:

    1. **Direct Routes:** By offering more direct flights from Orlando to destinations in the South, Latin America, and the Caribbean, United can save passengers time and inconvenience. This enhances the appeal of United Airlines to those living in or traveling through the Southeastern United States.

    2. **Reduced Travel Times:** Passengers would benefit from significantly reduced travel times, making it more convenient to choose United for both short and long-haul flights. This could lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    3. **Operational Efficiency:** For United, routing flights more directly to final destinations can lead to fuel savings, reduced crew hours, and overall operational efficiencies. This could improve flight profitability and environmental sustainability.

    4. **Market Attractiveness:** By eliminating the need to fly north before heading south, United would stand out in a competitive market, attracting passengers who prioritize direct routes and convenience.

    5. **Increased Capacity in Popular Routes:** A hub in Orlando allows United to capitalize on the high demand for flights to and from the region, potentially leading to increased flight frequencies and capacity on popular routes.

    6. **Strategic Positioning:** Positioning MCO as a hub solidifies United’s presence in a fast-growing region, ensuring it captures a significant share of the travel market in the Southeast, including the burgeoning cruise market in Florida.

    7. **Enhanced Customer Experience:** Passengers would enjoy a smoother, more streamlined travel experience, with fewer layovers and shorter travel times. This could significantly enhance United’s reputation for customer service and convenience.

    8. **Attracting New Segments:** Direct connections to international destinations from Orlando could attract new customer segments, including international tourists visiting Florida’s attractions and business travelers seeking efficient routes to Latin America and beyond.

    9. **Weather Advantages:** Orlando’s typically mild weather reduces the likelihood of weather-related delays and cancellations, especially compared to hubs in the North that may be affected by winter storms.

    10. **Boost to Local Economy:** A hub at MCO would bring economic benefits to the Orlando area, including job creation and increased tourism, fostering a positive relationship between United Airlines and the local community.

    By choosing Orlando MCO as a hub, United Airlines could significantly improve its service offering to passengers in the Southeast, addressing a key travel pain point and positioning itself for increased passenger satisfaction and market growth.

  10. UA has the largest fleet of 777-200/ERs AND regional jets – they have high costs at both ends of the spectrum.
    And both have to be retired within years or UA will have a structural cost issue. You can argue all you want about why UA’s lack of domestic size is the problem but the real issue – and it can be seen in fuel cost – is fuel inefficiency – DL is 6.5% higher than UA – and revenue generation inefficiency per ASM. UA’s fleet is simply not an efficient way to generate the amount of revenue that UA generates. Kirby is right that RJs are not the right fit but the latest UA fleet plan shows he isn’t going to park any this year because he wants to grow, grow, grow. UA will continue to be inefficient in the name of growth.
    You arrogantly point to the location of UA hubs as superior while DL’s is inferior but DL and UA’s goals is to deliver profits. You can’t argue in one breath that UA has to grow because it is underperforming financially but then argue in the next that UA’s hubs are superior because of their location. UA has simply not translated its hubs into more profitable locations and won’t because the whole premise of size is flawed. DL’s hubs are far more cost efficient; UA will pay over $30 to move every passenger through ORD and that number keeps growing. That is a terrible location for a hub.
    and DL is the largest airline by flights and the local market in both NYC and LAX but you (and yes you are shills when you cherrypick data) ignore those two rankings – the two largest markets in the US because DL, not UA is the largest carrier there.

    UA ITSELF was the airline that had planes waiting for gates at EWR last summer – which was a key reason for the meltdown. Other airlines scheduled to their capabilities and resources and still do. UA had to learn that lesson and it has allowed DL to have 15% more flights from NYC.

    Any analysis is fine as long as it is complete. The SEA analysis was flawed because it did not include int’l data – which he disclosed – but then said not having it was inconsequential. And it still comes down to the fact that DL generated $2 billion more profits and still has all of these hubs which folks on the sidelines want to call underperforming. If DL can have underperforming coastal hubs and make $2 billion more than its nearest competitor, where are AA and UA’s underperforming hubs?

    again, you measure results in quarters instead of years. The Latam JV is just getting started. Look at the difference in DL vs UA revenue in the 1st quarter. DL added tons of capacity in the 1st quarter after doing the same on a smaller scale in the 4th quarter. DL will overtake UA as the 2nd largest US carrier in Latin America soon and UA simply has no recourse. Copa and Avianca are simply much, much smaller. DL has had enormous success competing against AA and will add MIA to Latin America flights.

    DL’s growth in ICN is not dependent on the KE/OZ merger. DL is not adding capacity now to not influence the decisions by the EU and US but DL will add flights one way or another. And ICN is far more successful for DL and KE than NRT is for UA/NH and AA/JL. The Japanese government opened HND to transpacific flights and UA has tried two times to move NRT flights – GUM and IAH – to HND from NRT. DL and UA have very similar performance out of HND to the US but DL has more flights.

    the A350-900 for DL right now is a 306 seater compared to UA’s 265 seat 787-9s but DL is going to 275 seats on the A350-900 with a configuration closer to UA’s in terms of premium seats. There is no 100 seat gap and DL has no trouble filling seats on its 359s; when you make up BS and then spout it w/o verification, you are a shill whether you want to be told it or not. And the A350-1000 will be equivalent in size to UA’s 777-300ER but at much lower costs. And DL already has a far more fuel efficient widebody fleet and its efficiency will grow even further but they aren’t spending near as much to keep renewing their fleet and becoming more efficient, even while generating more profits and more cash flow.

    I get that UA had a lot of strategic flaws that Kirby is trying to fix but he is taking a high-risk method to fix it all quickly based on the assumption that UA will grow quickly and that other carriers will not also grow and do so more efficiently – which is highly flawed.

    When you cherrypick data to present your argument, you highlight that you either don’t really know the facts or are afraid to present them because they don’t stack up.

  11. as for the repeated talk about how great it would be for UA to have a hub at MCO, not only has UA tried MCO and MIA before but they walked away due to competition, in part because their hubs are so far from Florida.
    But UA is RIGHT now, the 7th largest airline at MCO -among the big 4 that are as financially stable as UA, WN, DL and AA are all larger but so are B6, F9 and NK.

    United NEXT is based on the notion that UA will grow by carrying ultra low fare capacity that the ULCCs already carry which is why Kirby repeatedly talks about how weak the LCC and ULCC segments are. They aren’t going away and, even if they go through chapter 11, they will come back stronger. The US is simply not going to allow the entire LCC segment other than WN as well as the ULCCs collapse so the big 4 can dominate the industry and BK laws favor reorganization at lower costs. The LCC and ULCC segments are built around low cost travel and none of the big 4 can carry it all. It is purely ludicrous for UA to think that UA can eliminate a bunch of lower cost carriers and then grow its own network by carrying that traffic instead.

    UA isn’t going to open a new hub but they also are not going to be able to grow their network based on taking share from everyone else which is what they would have to do in order the grow at the rate they envision. AA, DL and WN are more than financially capable of defending their positions in their strength markets while the LCCs and ULCCs will carry a segment of passengers that the US wants to see served and UA cannot count on to profitably grow its network.

    The entire UA Next strategy is high-risk based on a number of flawed and incorrect assumptions.

  12. The transformation of Central Florida, and Orlando in particular, over the past five years indeed presents a compelling case for establishing a new hub in the region. The influx of residents from northern states, the burgeoning Medical City, the pioneering air taxi service in Lake Nona, and the relocation of several large companies to the area, all underscore the rapid growth and diversification of the local economy and its appeal as a major travel and business destination. Here are some key points highlighting why a Central Florida hub, particularly at Orlando’s state-of-the-art Terminal C with fast rail train connections, is a strategic move for any airline, including United:

    1. **Unprecedented Growth:** Central Florida’s population and economic growth outpace many other regions in the United States, creating a larger base of potential airline customers, ranging from leisure travelers to business professionals.

    2. **Tourism Boom:** Orlando’s status as the number one destination for tourism in the U.S., thanks to its world-renowned theme parks, attractions, and year-round events, generates a consistent demand for air travel.

    3. **Business Expansion:** The area’s rapidly growing business sector, highlighted by the development of Medical City and the introduction of innovative transportation solutions like air taxis, signals a shift towards a more diversified economy with increased travel needs for business purposes.

    4. **Modern Infrastructure:** The new Terminal C at Orlando International Airport, equipped with modern amenities and a fast rail train connection, significantly enhances passenger experience and accessibility, making it an ideal location for a hub.

    5. **Strategic Location for International Flights:** Orlando’s geographical position makes it a strategic point for flights to and from Latin America, the Caribbean, and even European markets, expanding the reach of any airline that establishes a hub there.

    6. **Improved Accessibility:** The integration with Florida’s high-speed rail system not only connects Orlando to other major Florida cities but also offers an attractive alternative to air travel for short-haul travelers, potentially increasing the catchment area for long-haul flights.

    7. **Weather Advantage:** Compared to northern hubs, Orlando’s milder climate reduces weather-related disruptions, ensuring more reliable flight operations year-round.

    8. **Attractive to a Diverse Demographic:** The region’s appeal to a wide demographic, from families and leisure travelers to business executives and international visitors, ensures a steady demand across various travel segments.

    9. **Economic Incentives:** The local government’s commitment to economic development and innovation may offer advantageous conditions for airlines to establish and expand their operations.

    10. **Increased Competitive Edge:** By capitalizing on Orlando’s growing market, any airline can significantly enhance its competitive edge, offering direct routes and connections that cater to the evolving needs of today’s travelers.

    Given these factors, the case for a Central Florida hub is stronger than ever. The region’s dynamic growth, coupled with significant improvements in infrastructure and connectivity, positions Orlando not just as a leading tourist destination but also as an emerging hub for business and innovation. This presents a unique opportunity for airlines to tap into a market that is both substantial and continuously expanding.

  13. @Tim Dunn

    These planes are paid off hence there isn’t as much pressure to get high utilisation out of them. It’s the sane strategy Delta uses.

    Those planes will be retired eventually, that’s why United ordered hundreds planes.

    Okay now you’re arguing that United runs a fuel inefficient fleet, despite UA having a CASM 2 cents lower than DL. If I take your word here, with all those new planes this means UAs CASM will go even lower, which is saying something because they already have a lowish CASM.

    Why should Kirby (again he’s the CEO not the Network Planner) park any planes? If UA can fly them and make a profit, why park them?

    UA operates hubs in very desirable locations. UA has hubs in 6 of the top 7 markets by premium customers (https://viewfromthewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Best-Premium-Markets.png) and have DEN, IAH and IAD for growth markets. None of these (except maybe EWR and IAH) are true fortresses, so there’s an opportunity to gain market share and hence pricing power, not to mention all the connecting passengers.

    Yes ORD has a high CPE, but that’s offset by all the premium customers, corporate contracts and credit card market. LAX, LGA, JFK also have a high CPE.

    DL pulls in less O/D customers than United in NYC has to run a split hub- which has higher costs due to duplication and can’t leverage connecting customers. Combined with general comments in the industry we know that UA is far more profitable than DL in NYC. This isn’t up for debate.

    Arguing about market share in LAX is silly because it constantly changes all the time with airlines cutting back and increasing all the time. DL was the biggest in the 80s, then it was UA, then it was AA, now it’s DL and UA will probably overtake them once T9 is constructed.

    DL generates more profit for a variety of reasons but if we just look at hubs, the answer is fairly obvious. SLC, MSP, DTW, ATL are all fortresses.

    If you want to ignore data and facts about UA in EWR, then sure ignore Brett (https://crankyflier.com/2023/06/29/the-first-new-york-operational-mess-officially-rings-in-the-summer-season/)

    DL added like what 1000 seats to MIA while cutting back on destinations? What DL does in a week AA does in an hour. The JV is very much marketing spin and won’t go anywhere.

    Again ICN has slot issues, it’s hard to grow without shuffling things around. No one is denying that HND is far more desirable than NRT.

    So you’re saying that DL is Copying UA when it comes to having a less dense configuration? I guess those A350s will do well then.

    So I’m a shill for stating a few issues DL has? Wow shocker. I will make sure to never attack DL again then.

    And again UA has a CASM a whole two cents lower than DL, and if their fleet is as inefficient as you say it is that means it’s only going to go lower w/ new planes.

    DL tends to place smaller orders over time, so their capex looks smaller than it actually is. DL still needs to place another huge order for A339s and A321Neos while UA is done.

    Anything else you mentioned that I didn’t subtweet here is because I already addressed it.

  14. A220,
    Fleet FUEL efficiency can easily be calculated from every quarterly earnings report. Fuel is the second largest expense for US airlines behind labor. The big 4 pay very similar for labor but fuel is far different.
    Fuel efficiency matters the most on longhaul international flights – exactly UA’s claim to fame. DL retired its 777s and invested in new generation aircraft while relying on the A330CEOs as its primary transatlantic aircraft – and earned hundreds of millions more than UA which flew more ASMs. Look at the quarterly earnings statements and you will see that UA spend far more on fuel than DL and doesn’t generate more passenger revenue. You can argue theory all you want but numbers don’t lie. UA spent $1.5 billion more on fuel in 2023 than DL. UA simply has a less fuel efficient fleet, it costs them more per gallon, and DL’s strategy of a more balanced domestic fleet – with far fewer RJs – generates revenue more efficiently. DL focused its fleet renewal on its widebody fleet and on its longhaul domestic fleet; UA is doing the 2nd part but is not, so far, willing to start retiring older, less efficient widebody aircraft because it wants to grow and defends market share – and that strategy is yielding lower profit margins than DL on both the Atlantic and Pacific.

    Yes, holding onto older aircraft can allow profits. I’ve argue for years that AA’s claim of a newer fleet didn’t matter because they can’t turn it into a profit. Fleet age isn’t some magic bullet but it also does translate into efficiency at some point. DL has simply translated its fleet spending into more efficient operations than either AA or UA. And DL spent less per fuel on jet fuel per gallon in 2023 than WN which hedged.

    neither CF or any other published data source uses local O&D because they don’t have access to international O&D data. UA connects more passengers THROUGH NYC than DL does. It is UA’s own strategy to shift connecting passengers to EWR but that hasn’t happened yet.

    DL IS the largest at LAX. Arguing that it doesn’t matter what DL is now is as stupid as arguing that UA is the largest in NYC; you can’t argue one point and then use the opposite somewhere else.

    HND is limited in flights by TREATY. ICN is not. KE will optimize international longhaul flights. There is plenty of room to add flights. KE and OZ just schedule on top of each other but there is still plenty of room between banks there. Tokyo is simply a zero growth environment for flights from the US to Japan because of the split airport strategy which JL and NH wanted. AA and UA THOUGHT they could make it work but UA has tried TWICE to switch flights from NRT to HND. The evidence is overwhelming that NRT doesn’t work as well financially as you want to believe and DL is still the largest carrier from HND to the US.

    DL added a handful of connecting flights to MIA pre-covid to support the Latam JV. Covid happened, LA filed for chapter 11 but has since re-emerged and DL is focusing development of the DL-LA JV on NYC and LAX where they are on a combined basis the largest to Latin America. They are coming for MIA. If it makes you feel better to think that UA still has a shot at making Florida to Latin America work, go for it but you are living in denial. UA made a strategic mistake in walking away from the Pan Am Latin America acquisition in Florida, DL has spent 20 years building its presence in S. America, scored a coup with the Latam JV, and will overtake UA to Latin America and provide the first credible challenge to AA in MIA to Latin America in 40 years.

    UA has not provided guidance about how far out their orders go. DL doesn’t need to order more aircraft for delivery until late in the 2020s and into the 2030s. DL’s fleet spending is simply less because DL has a younger fleet than UA, has a more fuel efficient fleet, and DL has already replaced a good chunk of its least fuel efficient widebodies.
    The 787 is a poor aircraft for an airline as large as UA is to use as its primary new generation aircraft. Not a single other large global carrier doesn’t have the A350-1000 or 777X on order- or both.

    I enjoy the debate but you pick and choose facts to make an argument that doesn’t hold water.

    UA is less profitable than DL and profit matters because UA is committed to far more fleet spending than its earnings can support. DL’s higher profitability and greater efficiency allows it to move into markets far easier than UA can defend those markets.

    We’ll continue to revisit this but UA is not going to grow and it will struggle to generate the profits that you and others think it will while DL will grow and continue to grow its profits which will give it enormous advantages including in the growth of its network.

  15. @Tim Dunn

    Again if UA is as fuel inefficient as you say it is, their new planes will reduce their CASM even further which is saying something as it’s already two cents lower than DL.

    Tim you keep relying on that infamous DoT profitability data, which no one has any idea how they calculated and very likely does not paint the full picture.

    Those 777s are paid off so UA doesn’t need to maximise utilisation to pay them off. This is like arguing that QR is more profitable than EK because they fly 787s and A350s while EK does 777s and A380s, despite EK making a profit 2-3x bigger than QR.

    My point about LAX is valid. Market share shifts all the time and it’s only a matter of time till UA overtakes them with T9, then AA overtaking them with those former cats and dogs gates. LAX is a very fluid market share wise, just look at previous stats.

    Back to NYC, which has heavily slot restricted and near impossibleto find a gate/slot at, especially at optimal times. Recent Q3 2023 DB1B data by the DoT shows that while DL and UA have equal market (25%), UA has 29.7% of daily domestic O/D revenue share while DL has 26.8%. UA can funnel both O/D traffic and connecting (about 25%) passengers through Newark Liberty efficiently, while DL has to duplicate costs at LGA/JFK. UA is simply far more profitable here.

    The thing about the Japan market is that it works very well for O/D traffic, lots of tourism and a huge business market. DL can’t tap into that as no potential NYC based client or Japan POS client will fly DL when you have the AA/JL and UA/NH Joint Ventures. NRT is drawing up plans for their new mega terminal and have plans for their true 2nd and 3rd runways, and AA/JL and UA/NH already handle connecting traffic across TYO fine. Of course AA/JL UA/NH will want as many HND slots as possible, they are incredibly valuable.

    Good luck trying to find gates at MIA, the JV won’t blossom for that reason alone. There is literally not enough room for them both.DL did court GOL away from AA before but that didn’t work well and here they are trying it again.

    No one is denying that UA/DL walking away from their MIA operations in the past is a mistake, it was.

    The 787 is far from a poor plane, and provides numerous benefits for UA. UA has stated numerous times that they will take on those A350s they have on order, and the 777x is too much plane for most carriers which is why the plane isn’t doing too well sales wise.

    There are many reasons why DL is as profitable as it is, but UA underperforms compared to them (DL) because they lack market share at their own hubs and lack domestic capacity, issues DL doesn’t have. Outside of ATL DL doesn’t have much if any room to grow domestically while UA does.

  16. enjoying the conversation but you see persuaded in being wrong.

    I would have no problem if UA used a big chunk of its orders for fleet replacement but when they say and a whole lot of people believe that they are going to grow aggressively including internationally where they are already the largest US international carrier, then they aren’t serious about getting their costs down. When they pay $1.5 billion more than DL to generate less money, their strategy doesn’t work. New airplanes don’t improve their fuel efficiency as fast as other airlines unless they get rid of older airplanes. UA will still be fuel inefficient and unable to increase profits -they will just be larger.

    feel free to post facts and data to support your statements about Japan. DL does just fine there and you, like many seem to think that UA gets to have all of the benefits that NH has. That is simply not true at all. UA and NH SPLIT the market. Real data shows that DL has as large of a presence at HND as UA does. UA doesn’t get to count all of the revenue NH puts on NH planes as well as the revenue it puts on NH’s planes.

    you want to cling to market share where it shows UA in the lead but aren’t willing to admit that DL is the largest at LAX RIGHT NOW and DL is just as capable of surpassing UA’s size in the international market as it is that UA or AA can overtake DL in LAX. You can’t pick and choose your arguments but you do that repeatedly.

    There are plenty of airplanes at all carriers that are “paid off” but when they are no longer economical, it simply does not make sense to keep running them. Widebody fleets are the most sensitive to fuel economy. UA should start getting rid of their 777-200s if they are serious about getting their profits up – otherwise they are just talking out of both sides of their mouth and will be in the same position of trailing DL by a wide margin in profits 10 years from now.

    you don’t like DOT global region profitability but it rolls up to the totals that UA reports to investors and it explains completely why UA trails DL in profitability overall. It is far less about UA’s domestic system but its international system – and DL knows it which is why DL intends to be much more efficient which will make it far easier for DL to grow.

    DL simply didn’t walk away from anything at MIA. They didn’t even begin a number of domestic flights they scheduled because of covid. they are still the #2 domestic carrier and Latam is the #2 international carrier. I know it is hard to admit that UA has been outsmarted and cannot touch either AA or DL to Latin America but UA’s small size in the state and every major market simply leaves them w/ exactly the problem DL had for years – not enough size to take on AA in S. Florida but DL has fixed that with the Latam JV. UA simply has nothing that can match it.

    The A350-900 is a superior aircraft to the 787-9 in range, size, efficiency and capability. The A350-1000 takes it to a whole new level. Waiting til 2030 to match DL’s performance is risky and is precisely how DL will overtake UA in the international market.
    UA could have A350-1000s within a couple years if they wanted but they would have to get rid of scores of 787 orders because their balance sheet simply cannot handle more capex.

    as for NYC, LGA is about local traffic. DL has a coordinated strategy between LGA and JFK. Given how important NYC is to both DL and UA and without data to back up any theory, I think we both have to accept that DL and UA’s strategies as they exist work just fine. UA wishes they were back at JFK but DL overall flies 15% more flights out of all 3 airports and can upgauge just as much as UA can.
    and the real change in the NE is coming because of DL’s growth in BOS which gives them a real two city strength in the NE just as UA has from IAD and EWR. DL just happens, once again, to be larger than UA at DCA and is talking to BOS about even more expansion so DL could, once again, overtake UA in a major region – the NE – where UA has been the largest carrier since the CO merger.

    I’m glad for your passion but we really should meet for lunch some time. Keeping a topic 3 pages in active seems a little much.

  17. @Tim Dunn

    UA will retire many of their planes eventually after they have been run into the ground. It makes no sense to park planes when they are still profitable.

    Their CASM is two cents lower than Delta, and with all these new planes that will go down even further.

    UA needs to grow domestically, they have less narrowbodies than DL and AA. Getting bigger is a necessity for reasons I’ve already stated, their costs (fuel) are only dropping and as more seats are being sold they are making higher profits. Feel free to explain why UA isn’t underperformed now like they were under Smisek.

    I don’t think I need to link stats and facts about the population and size of the business market in Japan, that’s silly. Revenue sharing is apart of JVs so that claim about revenues is false.

    No my point about LAX is valid. Market share shifts all the time here as has been the case for decades.

    As for international DL doesn’t have any good spots to launch flights. UA have the EWR/SFO/IAD/IAH fortress hubs, while DL has LAX (highly competitive), ATL (maxxed out), DTW (doesn’t work too well), and JFK (lack of slots and direct feed). MIA doesn’t work for a mix of reasons I just stated. DL can’t overtake UA internationally thanks to their hub situation.

    Why should UA park those profitable 777s? That’s silly. Sure it would lower their CASM and fuel costs but it hurt their profits more.

    Oh please if UA international was that unprofitable it would be very public fact akin to LAX international being unprofitable for AA. If someone flies from IAH-SFO-PVG how much of that profit is dedicated to each region? You can’t look at a route network in a vacuum.

    I don’t want to get into A350 vs B787 as they are both excellent yet different products which each have their pros (and not (m)any cons). Taking on the A350 earlier than they wanted to is not a good idea considering they don’t really need them rn.

    As for NYC feel free to argue that DL can focus more on O/D but at the end of the day UA pulls in more O/D revenue from NYC without having to duplicate (hub) costs.

    UAs return to JFK will be unprofitable but they view it as strategic. UA has far more room to upgauge and capture traffic as they dominate EWR and can connect passengers but DL can’t, which is good considering UAs growth plans.

    BOS/SEA (and MIA in the future) isn’t doing too well for DL and adding it as a future hub only tells me one thing- DL can’t grow at their existing hubs and need more gateways like UA has.

    Seeing as BOS went from a LAX clone (tons of competition) to basically empty after 9/11 tells me that it just isn’t that valuable as a hub. There’s barely room for the existing carriers as is there.

    I’m free to wrap this up when you are

  18. How about underutilized Fort Myers (RSW) in Southwest Florida rather than a crowded TPA, MIA, MCO. RSW has so much room to grow and if not UA someone else will surely lead the way of the future.

  19. A220
    I absolutely love having this chat with you. the more you write, the more you show the arrogance of the UA crowd and perhaps UA itself. Let’s go through the hubris:
    1. the jaw-dropping hubris is that DL doesn’t have gateways that are good enough for international expansion. Do you even believe what you write? JFK is a far bigger international market than second tier EWR. LAX is a far larger market than SFO. DL is the largest carrier in both. UA is #3 in LAX and non-existent in JFK – but you think that also-ran EWR is a bigger market? What arrogance. ATL is the largest hub in the world – larger than the next two UA hubs COMBINED. DL has two hubs on the west coast. BOS is larger than IAD but you think that DL doesn’t have viable hubs to expand. UA’s fall will be great when you and they realize that DL is serious about international growth.
    2. UA is free to keep anything they want in service in the name of growth but they can’t get costs down as long as they fly ancient, inefficient aircraft. I am perfectly happy if UA wants to fly old, inefficient aircraft but then don’t cry about making more money – because the two concepts are incompatible. Fortunately, Scott Kirby is not as ignorant about economic realities. He is, however, hopefully delusional that he can fix all of UA’s problems in 3 short years.
    3 UA’s RASM is also lower than DL’s. You really should study the concept of profit per ASM. to no one’s surprise – except yours- DL leads in that metrics as well as total profits. And profits matter because UA can’t keep growing when other airlines – including DL – generate more profits and ALSO want to grow into UA markets.
    4. When DL starts adding routes with the A350 that UA can’t fly with the 787, they will rethink whether it is worth waiting 6 years to spend another $5 billion.
    5. Feel free to detail the costs that DL’s two hub NYC hub costs more per passenger. Don’t forget that UA’s EWR hub capacity got cut by 10% – because the airport can’t handle what UA was trying to schedule. Meanwhile, DL flies AT LEAST 15% more flights from NYC and in some months as much as 20%.
    6 Feel free to provide real data that shows that DL makes less money in BOS and SEA than in UA’s hubs. And, if BOS and SEA don’t generate decent profits, explain where UA loses money because DL made $2 billion more in 2023 than UA. Apparently, DL makes more than enough to support its money-losing pet projects and UA isn’t smart enough to figure out how to make all its perfect hubs make as much money as DL’s basketcase of hubs. You are truly a piece of work if you believe what you work. (I would love to use other words but don’t want to hit Gary’s review system)
    7 Clinging to what happened during covid is beyond childish and ignorant. UA made less in 2023 AND 2022 and 2021 than DL.

    oh, and Usher is from Atlanta and rocks!

  20. and your handle is priceless and clearly has nothing to do wiht United which would rather cling to 50 passenger RJs than fly the most modern and fuel efficient small mainline jet in the world.

  21. Roght @Tim Dunn I’m winding down this argument cause I don’t feel repeating exactly what I already said for the 4th time. Anything I did not address here was already addressed.

    1a) Yes and this is UAs biggest advantage. I already explained why, and it’s not like DL has bragged about theirs gateways like they did with their Amex dealm

    1b) While a big market, Newark Liberty has a bigger catchment area when you take into account (growing) New Jersey and connections. Slot restricted New York Kennedy is stuck with what it has. I already posted data that UA pulls in more O/D revenue from NYC already.

    1c) LAX is probably the most competitive airport in the world and shared with UA/AA/WN/B6 among others on the domestic side alone. Not exactly the best place for yields when you consider all that competition

    2a) Again you’re arguing that UA should stop flying profitable routes with profitable planes in the name of… cost cutting?
    This is the exact argument used by Jeff Smisek and it was a disaster!

    2b) UAL has not cried about making money, in fact they talked about future growth from growing revenues, very simple.

    2c) UA has not talked about a quixk fix lol. They made it clear that this growth is moreso over the long term

    3a) We were discussing costs, so I bought up Costs (per ASM). That simple.

    3b) UALs newer planes have more premium seating with PTVs, hey isn’t that you brag about DAL doing to drive a revenue premium?

    4) Oh there are only so many markets where you need that range. (It’s honestly kinda pathetic to argue that the 787 lacks range.)

    5) It’s not a question of Enplanement costs but scale.

    DL needs to spread and duplicate infrastructure across LGA and JFK, and I’m not interested in explaining why 2×1=2 but 1×1=1 meaning 2>1.

    6a) There is that Enilria data you are well aware of.

    6b) What a hypocrite. Complaining about criticisms aimed at you but then complaining you can’t throw offensive insults at others.

    7) And that gap will tighten as time goes on. Feel free to hit me up in 2029 or mid 2030s to see whose right.

    8) Now you want to resort to insulting usernames and maming false strawmans? What childish behaviour.

    IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO AXE PROFITABLE FLYING IN THE NAME OF EFFICIENCY!!!

  22. 220
    the point of discussion is to come to a mutual understanding. You don’t seem interested in doing that as in pushing your perspective.

    In a nutshell, AA, DL and UA all took different strategies during covid and they have shaped what they are each doing now and what they will do in the coming years.
    AA has struggled to make money internationally except for to Latin America for years while DL and UA do have solid international route systems that, while different in profits, do have lots of potential and both DL and UA show they intend to continue to grow their international systems.
    The difference between DL and UA is that UA has long been more focused on size, “prestige” and the number of routes than on profits while DL has long been focused more on profitability than size, prestige etc.

    AA and DL used covid to ground less efficient older aircraft; DL had the aircraft on order to replace what it grounded while AA did not. DL has replaced the aircraft it grounded with more efficient aircraft while AA has not.
    UA decided to not ground aircraft so it could quick restart operations when international demand returned and they got a one quarter advantage – and no more – in 3Q2023 as AA and DL did not have staff and airplanes ready.

    UA has a less efficient international fleet than AA or esp. DL. All the arguments about UA making money with old, less efficient aircraft misses the point that UA execs including Kirby has repeatedly said that it intends to have financial metrics at the top of the industry. Kirby said during one of his first quarters at UAL that he intended to match DL’s profit margins. He hasn’t made THAT direct comparison near as much but does talk about UA’s need to be a top choice airline from a financial perspective.
    Your statements and those of other commenters ignore that Kirby and UA execs know that UA has to be financially comparable to the best in class in order to attract capital including getting the best interest rates for its massive fleet spending. They burned cash in 2023 while AA, DL and DL all had free cash flow.

    Delta doesn’t largely make comparisons to other airlines. or other airline hubs. JFK is a larger international gateway than EWR, LAX is larger than SFO and BOS is a larger total market than IAD
    – on top of ATL being a larger hub than UA’s two largest hubs COMBINED and DL carries more international revenue through ATL than UA does from ANY of its hubs. To state that DL doesn’t have the hubs to support international growth is pure hubris.

    UA is smaller in NYC and at EWR than it was a year ago because it has had to shrink its operations in order to regain operational reliability. DL has a 15-20% larger operation in NYC depending on the month. You have no idea of the costs for DL to operate its NYC hubs but CPE for all 3 airports shows that there is little to no difference.

    cherrypicking a good CASM number – which is driven by stage length – given that UA has a longer stage length – but ignoring RASM or Profit per ASM proves you don’t want to use real data but push an agenda. DL is more profitable as a result of its better RASM/CASM relationship.

    UA is free to use older aircraft but then shouldn’t complain about not making its financial goals – or changing them to avoid the comparisons they previously did.

    The B787-9 and A350-900 have similar costs per seat to operate but the A350 is larger and has more range in the best versions currently available. DL previously operated the 777LR and used its capabilities (ATL-BOM) and has never said they aren’t interested in ultra long haul routes which UA operates plenty of. The A350-1000 is simply the most capable and efficient large longhaul aircraft. Every one of the top 10 global airlines has a new generation large twin widebody on order or in their fleet; UA is the only one that doesn’t have the A350-1000 on order or in their fleet or have the 777X on order. To think that UA can economically compete with the 787 and a bunch of low efficiency 777s is mighty naive.

    Plenty of people make the assumption that because DL is moving slowly and methodically in rebuilding its network that it isn’t interested in ULH routes or strong growth. and yet nothing could be further from the truth – and driven only by bias, mostly from UA fans like yourself.
    DL will grow where it is profitable to do so. UA cannot continue to grow where it cannot make money.

    DL made $2 billion more than UA in 2023. If DL can figure out how to make that much more money on the bottom line and run a bunch of supposedly underperforming or money-losing hubs (according to a whole lot of people) then WTF has UA been doing for the past 40 years?

    And Kirby DOES have the right strategies. He just thinks he can fix all of UA’s strategic problems in a couple years, that other airlines won’t challenge his plans or also grow, and he minimizes the huge risks involved in his plans including in trying to grow in competitive domestic markets where UA has been weak for years.

    feel free to reply if you are interested in a discussion and interacting w/ all points and not just to push yours.

    And, yes, it will take the better part of the decade to see whether DL or UA had the better strategy – but we will see pretty early clues within a few years.

    I’m not mocking your user name but find it ironic that you highlight an aircraft that DL has figured out how to use but UA has not and has nothing comparable in their fleet.

  23. If by “mutual understanding” you means listening to your “pushed perspective” of DL being No1 then sure, I can do that.

    One sentence you argue that UA puts prestige and size over profit and thats bad and the next you’re bragging about DLs size and stats. Go figure

    Arguing that UA has a less fuel efficient fleet misses the point as UA already has their replacements on order. You don’t see me criticising DL for still having 757s or 737-900ERs in 2011 when they have A321Neos on order.

    Their hubs are not as good international gateways compared to United. Simple as that.

    United historically has had poor management (even with the post merger team) but they have largely fixed that. There are plenty of examples of companies, countries, people, etc and STILL burning cash. You know why DL has the money to sustain their endeavours.

    It isn’t just Scott Kirby. The entire UAL management team had to theur homework and agree on their current plan. You created a strawman by saying if UAL doesn’t match DAL asap they are a failure.

  24. IF UA intended to use even half of their new airplanes for replacement, then I would hardly agree – but they are fixated with growth and doing so will leave them w/ less efficient aircraft and lower profit margins – even as they brag that they need to match DL’s financial performance.

    The cities where DL’s hubs are larger markets. It is only in your biased mind that you think that DL can’t grow its international network in those cities.
    More significantly, DL has the airplanes coming in to be able to surpass what UA can do with its 787s. When DL starts JFK-BOM with A350s while UA still can’t 787s with anywhere near a comparable number of seats, it will become clear to you.

    Kirby is the CEO and he is smart. He just thinks he can fix 20 years of problems in a couple years and put the company at the very same financial risk that AA took and has largely lost.

    Talk to you again in 5 years – and every time Gary writes an article in which you choose to pipe in on UA’s great strategies even as they underperform DL financially.

  25. Look @Tim Dunn you clearly aren’t listening to my facts, instead you choose to choose to repeat opinions I already addressed multiple times.

    I’ll repeat what I said one more time:

    – who cares about fuel efficiency if UA already has a low CASM and are doing the most to lower it?

    – DL hubs are in less wealthy, less populated, low growth, less desirable areas.

    – UA by far has better international gateways. This is a common known fact.

    – UA has a lack of domestic capacity

    – The extreme range of the A350 isn’t really needed

    – I’m not even a UA shill. Not only is that ironic, but that’s a massive strawman you created to keep going

    – again re: ironic about shilling for an airline in the comments section of Garys blog

    If you want to keep being a hypocrite here and ignore what I said, feel free. No one here is forcing you to shill for Delta Airlines

  26. it is clear that you thrives on bias and the ignorance of facts.

    It doesn’t matter how big “markets” are but how much of that market a company gets. UA has lower market share of its metro areas than any of the big 4.
    UA’s hubs put side by side with DL’s generate less total revenue.
    Just as an example of how flawed your thinking is, DL is by far the largest airline in the midwest because of its dual hub DTW and MSP strategy and gets more revenue from those two combined hubs plus Chicago than UA does from Chicago plus MSP and DTW.

    And, if your argument was true, UA wouldn’t be needing to grow its domestic network which even you admit.
    UA’s domestic network is not sufficient to support UA’s international network and UA has the 4th largest domestic network of the big 4, including the 6th largest presence in Florida and 4th largest in LAS, the two largest growth markets where UA could potentially build a hub.

    UA NEXT is built around the notion that UA will continue to grow its international network while DL will not and that UA will grow in domestic markets w/o resistance – which is patently false.

    UA is taking on substantial debt to get airplanes that are less capable than DL. You can argue all you want but the fact that UA cannot fly EWR-BOM while SQ uses less capable A350-900s than DL is getting to fly EWR-SIN which overflies India by 3 hours proves what the A350-900 can do – and that is even before the A350-1000. UA will “get around” to retiring its 777s in about 5 years while DL continues to grow its international network w/ far more efficient and capable aircraft.

    UA’s international strategy is not sustainable while its domestic growth strategy is pure fantasy.

    if UA’s strategy was working, they would be generating more revenue and higher profits, but once agian, they had $2 billion less profits than DL and UA hasn’t come close to guiding they will close that gap. UA flies more to get less.

    Getting personal when someone highlights legitimate logical and rational reasons why UA’s strategy isn’t going to deliver any more than it is now – which is a wide miss – is precisely why you are the one that is a shill.

    keep it going. I’ll publish a book – but you highlight exactly why the UA fan club is the most obnoxious and ideal-driven but fact-devoid bunch on the internet.

  27. @Tim Dunn, now you’re repeating points I made

    Well going by your own point, AMERICAN pulls in more revenue from the south because they have PHX, DFW, MIA, and CLT.

    And before you mention credit cards, these markets are bigger than ATL but that doesn’t apply to DTW/MSP.

    United Next is built behind- you know what I already mentioned this. Come on Timmy

    1) Next is about growing everywhere (particularly domestically) as United lacks scale

    2) Next is a long term strategy. Most planes haven’t even arrived yet.

    3) Next does take into competitors, which is why they are growing

    4) Next isn’t about you strawmanning and moving goalposts- which is patently true

    5) You’re focusing on niche ULH routes that UA will also fly in the future, *when it is actually viable*

    6) You have to be trolling at this rate. Please explain in detail how you are not being a hypocrite

    7) Again hypocrisy

    8) Go ahead. I have a few years to go on and I’ll point out to everyone how you couldn’t let go of the fact of losing the argument- while I’ll just paraphrase what I already said

  28. I’m glad you are willing to keep it up.

    United Next is about knocking off competitors and for UA to unrealistically grow in markets where it is way behind its competitors in size with the hope, not a viable plan, to grow faster than them.
    UA Next is built around market share failure among the LCC and ULCC sector.
    Fares in the large leisure markets are weak; any notion that UA can profitably grow as fast as it needs to in order to make Next work is simply foolish.
    Delta in 2023 grew just as fast as United, spent far less to do so, made more money and retained its share in all of the markets where DL and UA compete. AA and WN don’t have the aircraft to grow but DL does.
    Kirby is running around Europe trying to get Airbus to get more aircraft to UA. Maybe he can get a few but the notion that UA can outbid everyone else to grow is naive on so many levels.

    UA financially underperforms DL right now. WN has unique capacity restraints because of the MAX 7 certification issues – the same thing UA will face with the MAX 10. AA has limited growth. DL has hundreds of planes on order and option and no inefficient RJs or 777-200/ERs to retire – just the same 757s and 767s that UA has. DL’s last 757s will still be flying well past 2030.

    UA simply has not chosen to take delivery of the A350 or B777X this decade and will be competing in long haul markets with a less efficient and less capable aircraft esp. than DL. Structurally, UA has less growth potential to Asia and to Latin America than DL because of its joint ventures both of which are larger and better positioned than UA’s partners.

    UA can grow if it wants but it cannot do so if financial performance matters. Given that UA is the only one of the big 4 that took on debt in 2023 while AA and DL reduced debt and improved their balance sheets and WN’s is already pristine, Next is a high risk strategy that will harm UA, leave it even more cost uncompetitive, and leave UA in the same position AA is in now.

    Nobody is doubting that UA make a series of huge strategic blunders but they can’t all be fixed in the couple of years that Kirby thinks they need to be fixed in. UA’s position internationally doesn’t require it to require near as aggressively but they still say they are doing it.

    You are free to cling to the hope that Kirby will do something different than what he orchestrated at AA but the evidence is clear that he has stumbled even at UA. UA Next is not going to deliver what you and others think while DL esp. will grow on a financially sustainable basis and the low cost competitors that UA thinks will die simply will not even as AA, DL and WN all push back UA’s dreams of domestic growth.

  29. I seriously don’t understand how repetition doesn’t work on you. At this point I’m using ChatGPT to paraphrase my older comments as your points haven’t really changed.

    United Next is a long term plan. Those planes haven’t arrived yet. You don’t see me arguing that DL is losing billions in the NYC market and that they should give up, because it did eventually pay off for them.

    The fact that UAL underperformed for years post merger and is now posting solid results and is in 2nd place, I see that as proof is UN is working.

    Oh please one moment you’re arguing that UA is growing roo much and the next you say it’s not enough.

    United Next was developed well before 2020 and the LCC failings.

    The biggest difference with Kirby now compared to his US Scareways days is that he is no longer surrounded by yes men, hes surrounded by a great management team who developed much of the current strategy, and managing to convince investors that adding additional capacity is a good thing is something to be proud of

  30. the problem with your argument – and it is YOU that repeat the same thing over and over again – is that UA Next is not a long-term strategy – or at least it is being executed at a high rate of speed.
    When your capex is 60% more than your next largest competitor and they are still able to grow just as fast and still make more money, then it is absolutely valid to ask if your strategy is really working and if it ever can – or if you are being outsmarted.
    Funny you mention US Airways but Scott Kirby’s name was on the memo trying convince USAirways employees that swapping 2.5X more slots at LGA for every slot at DCA was a good idea, esp. given that US ended up having to divest all of those slots as part of the AA merger.
    Given that AA engaged in all kinds of “strategically necessary flying” which lost money and Kirby had key roles in network there and is doing the same thing at UA, I’m not so sure that the demons have really been exponged.

    and, no, I never said UA is going too slow. I did say that they have a host of issues which are the result of strategic mismanagement which need to be fixed – but not at the expense of UA’s financial future which is exactly what Kirby had a hand in doing at AA.

    but you are free to have undying devotion to UA and Kirby’s strategy. Some of us won’t sweep his track record quite so quickly.

  31. Ok now you’re bringing up the DCA/LGA slot swap deal. Talk about moving goalposts.

    Arguing that Next has failed when the planes haven’t even arrived is like arguing you can land a plane after doing some hours in Microsoft Simulator and haven’t even stepped foot in a Cessna yet.

  32. The DCA/LGA slot swap had Kirby’s name on it. I have the memo. Unless you want to tell me that he was forced to do it.

    And I get the planes are coming – but UAL spent almost $8 billion on fleet in 2023. At what point are you willing to accept that UA is spending money on fleet NOW and has to be held accountable for its ability or inability to succeed at its goals?

    Once again, Delta spent 60% of what UAL spent on fleet in 2023, earned $2 billion more, and still managed to grow its capacity by 17% – the same as UAL.

    Tell me exactly what UAL gained and why we should believe that UA will succeed when it hasn’t so far, esp. since building a new hub in a high growth area involves displacing multiple carriers that have higher market share?

    we’ll wait but you do a great job of repeating the same thing but not answering the questions.

  33. What was this convo originally about? United starting a new hub?

    That’s why you look so ridiculous bringing up the LGA/DCA US/DL slot swap deal.

    I bought up the upcoming planes because guess what? You’re judging UA over a plan that is still in progress, and not too long ago they were performing horribly.

    And I cannot take any stats or data you take seriously. You have a reputation for never linking or stating where you got it from, and there’s usually multitudes of people debunking it anyway.

    But okay let’s take it seriously here for a sec.
    You’re slandering UA over its CASM, specifically fuel and plane costs. They are fixing this problem with the new planes.

    And for the last time I never said UA will build a new hub. They are however expanding their presence in MCO

  34. I’m glad you came back and keep coming back… I love the debate and to show how illogical you are – even though YOU think that repetition makes something right.

    Kirby’s name is on the DL-US slot swap which was one of the biggest strategic blunders in US airline history. I get that you want to sweep it under the rug but it was his doing. And he made plenty of other blunders at AA that AA is still paying for on top of what he has done at UA. To somehow think that he will never make another mistake when he has a very decent list to his credit at multiple airlines.

    so glad you realize that this noise about UA building another hub is non-sense.
    Delta’s announcement about new service from BOS, SEA, MIA and Hawaii is far bigger strategically than all of the noise that comes from the UA fan club.

    at least you are articulate and conservative – so you have those 2 things going for you.

    ’til next time.

    Your your ilk have proven over and over again that you simply disregard data – such as global region profitability – if you don’t like it. All of the data I cite is publicly available and provided by the companies themselves. If you’d like to mention a specific data point that you dispute, I’ll tell you the source.
    Funny that you harp on CASM, even as you think I slandered UA on CASM – which I most certainly never said, but you can somehow manage to find that data on UA’s SEC-filed earnings statements – or repeat what other people find.
    Harping on CASM highlights the inability or unwillingness to use data accurately. No one cares about CASM or ASM or RASM other than as a data point to brag about. The whole reason for any financially related metric such as CASM or RASM is to show how a company can turn that into profits. And UA trails DL significantly in that regard even if it beats all of the rest of the industry.

    and given that UA invested $8 billion in capex in 2023 and still managed to report that just about every metric trailed DL, please let us how how long we should wait for UA to report SOME data that demonstrates its strategies are working. this year. and in 2024. but more importantly, tell UAL investors so they know they shouldn’t expect UA to be industry-leading other than the PR BS that it spews.

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